SAN ANTONIO -- Hundreds of immigrant children from Latin America crossing into the U.S illegally are spending another night at Lackland Air Force Base. It s a story KENS 5 first told you about earlier this month, but Thursday, one woman with inside access to the temporary immigration camp told Eyewitness News it s overcrowded and not a healthy place to live.
The former employee asked Eyewitness News to conceal her identity, but claims she worked closely with the children and wanted to advocate for their best interests. She said her decision to come forward is not about politics, but for the well-being of the children.
The first impression you get when you get into these camps and begin working with the children, you are in complete disbelief, she said.
Earlier this month Lackland turned into a temporary shelter for unaccompanied immigrant children detained at the border. The woman said there are more than 1,000 undocumented kids and teens now living at the base.
She said the children are well fed, but she shared with KENS 5 photos of the living spaces, which she said are inadequate in size for such a large number of kids.
We have had a break out of medical conditions such as lice, bed bugs, scabies, different types of illnesses that are occurring: strep, sore throats, coughs, she said.
She added there are nurses on staff, but no physicians and no psychiatrists to help with any mental health challenges.
Many of the children were traumatized during their journey through the United States. Many of them have incurred abuse, rape, they incurred starvation, the woman said.
The kids are here under the authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which then contracts out the care for all the children. The woman said staffers at the camp are doing the best they can but that the job is a massive one.
We need to have additional parties overseeing the care of these children. We need Child Protective Services involved, we need the clergy, we need certified teachers to be educating these children, she said.
KENS 5 placed calls and an email to the Department of Health and Human Services, but received no reply. This year the U.S. government is projected to assist 60,000 unaccompanied alien children which could end up costing tax payers more than $900 million.